Update from the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision, Corbin v. Kholsa. 2012 Pa. LEXIS 1816.
In a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision follow-up on Corbin v. Kholsa, 607 Pa. 88 the question whether or not people driving uninsured vehicles can recover for economic losses. In general Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, (MVFRL), 75 Pa.C.S. 1701-1799 would control the issues of non-economic losses as it relates to first party benefits for uninsured motorist. An uninsured motorist in Pennsylvania means that a person is operating a registered vehicle that does not have a financial responsibility or in other words, insurance. A person operating any such vehicle without insurance would be prohibited from collecting a no fault medical coverage or other economic losses such as lost wages, if he is hit by another person who would be at fault for this accident. The driver of the uninsured vehicle would still be able recover for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. However, a person driving an uninsured registered vehicle will be deemed to have selected the limited tort option. Specifically Section 1705 of the motor vehicle financial responsibility law provides that each person who selects the limited tort alternative remains eligible to receive compensation for economic loss sustained in a motor vehicle accident as the consequence of the fault of another person pursuant to applicable tort law. Unless the injury sustained is a serious injury, each person who is bound by the limited tort election shall be precluded from maintaining an action for non-economic loss. Prior to the decision that I am currently discussing, this section was interpreted as precluding the people driving an uninsured vehicle from collecting economic losses from an actual party. However, in this current decision by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the court has unequivocally stated that people driving registered, uninsured vehicles can continue to collect economic as well as non-economic losses from what they call a “third party tortfeasor”, or in other words, a guilty party who is responsible for the accident, assuming it is not the uninsured driver.